Cancer and Exercise:
“Cancer patients should not just exercise because it improves their overall health, but exercise training should be implemented as a targeted approach in order to regulate cancer progression and formation, ameliorate cancer-associated adverse events, and improve anti-cancer treatment efficacy”(Hojman, 2018)
This weekend I read a review looking at the molecular mechanisms behind the benefits of exercise and cancer. I wanted to share some of the main takeaways! But if you want to know more about the specifics of the mechanisms, shoot me a message!
The benefits of exercises are fairly well known, but it was originally thought that exercise was not appropriate for individuals going through treatment or after treatment.
But it is been seen in preclinical ( mice) and clinical studies the impact exercise can have on disease prevention, progression, and reoccurrence.
– Decreased cancer cell growth via inhibition or downregulation of the pathway that controls organ size and tumor formation
– Tumors have their our blood supply and increased metabolism, exercise is thought to redirect the energy substrates from the tumor demand to the tissues that may be competing healthy tissues
– Exercise increased circulating immune cells that can help “attack” the cancerous cells
Sadly, the treatment for cancer itself comes with adverse effects. These can be things like weight loss, weight gain, muscle loss, fatigue, depression, and cognitive function.
ALL THESE THAT EXERCISE CAN HELP WITH.
While these benefits are well known there is still a lack of them being promoted within healthcare systems.
Exercise needs to be intergraded into cancer treatment.
Health Care and Fitness Gap- I can add more to this when I have a bit more time. but here is the current post.
“OH GOOD THE EXERCISE LADY IS HERE! I should probably stop talking to you about chocolate bars”
True statement from a practitioner when I walked into a patient’s room a few weeks ago.
In case you didn’t know I work in a hospital as a clinical research coordinator.
I am also a certified exercise physiologist.
I work on with the studies at our hospital focusing on physical activity and exercise.
As I’ve stepped into the role, the gap between health care and fitness professions has become more exaggerated to me.
Patients may be told every day by their physicians- “Eat better and increase your exercise”
But that’s it.
No plan, no call to action, no pill they can take.
Just the words.
THIS IS NOT THE PHYSICIAN’S FAULT.
There is a gap between our worlds but they overlap more than we all know.
We ALL know the health benefits of exercise.
Yet, not all physicians don’t know HOW to prescription exercise, WHO or HOW to refer to patients, they are concerned about costs, convenience or they simply may just not offer any options.
We NEED to do better to close this gap.
Our patients deserve better.